Wednesday 12 February 2014

Amazing what a positive attitude can do.....or is it just coincidence?

Just a short diary entry for you today. Although it has been quite a long time since my last post so really it should be a mammoth entry. Of course, I say it is going to be short but if the muse takes me it may turn into the next War and Peace. Perhaps you should go and make a cup of tea, just in case.

Anyway, moving on. The last entry was written with a modicum of anger, or rather frustration at how people treat we singing teachers (actually any one-to-one type teachers). I was feeling a little annoyed by some of my students not giving me enough notice that they weren't coming for their lesson or just simply not turning up and not bothering to tell me. This led to my threatening them with a cancellation fee. I do not want (or really intend) to charge anyone for a missed lesson but I hope that the introduction of this policy will make the people who come to me think about how they go about cancelling a lesson. I should point out my students are wonderful human beings and I love teaching all of them the new policy introduction was just something I had to do for my own sanity. But this post is not really about this. As far as I am concerned the matter has been dealt with and we will say no more about it.

What I wanted to discuss was how things appear to have turned around a bit for me (not on the performing front, that is still as dry as ever, unlike the weather which is ridiculous). Last week I had 12 students booked in for lessons. This has never happened before. The most I have had is 8 (I think). People just suddenly started calling and asking to come for lessons. In the end 9 of the 12 turned up but that will do for me. This week I have 10 booked in and I have my fingers crossed that that will become 11 as I taught an extremely promising girl last week who I think I could work wonders with. My patience is finally starting to pay off (I really I hope I haven't just jinxed things by saying that).

I put this down, in some small part, to a self help book I have been reading over the past couple of weeks. Now I am exceedingly sceptical when it comes to any kind of self help nonsense but now and again I read something that strikes a chord or hits a nerve (I was actually about to write "strikes a nerve" but realised I was mixing my whatchamacallits). The book I am reading is "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. I am pretty sure most of you will have heard of it and, indeed, given it a go. I bought this book about 14 years ago and it has been on my bookshelf, gathering dust for about 13 years, 11 months and 29 days. I was, obviously, not ready for it then.

I am now! I am into the third chapter and some of the things this woman says are like she is in my head and writing down my every thought. So many good things have happened over the past two weeks. I thought them all to be coincidences until I read the section that told me I was going to think all the good things happening to me right now were coincidences. At this point I thought about burning the book as this was surely witchcraft at work. Thankfully I did not and have embraced these "coincidences". 

I am not saying I need therapy but I have always thought myself far too rational and logical to try therapy. Why would I bother going to someone else for help, I already know what they are going to say so what is the point? As it turns out I seem to have conditioned myself into an extremely irrational and illogical state (it is not as bad as it sounds, bear with me). I put obstacles in my own way to stop me doing the things I dream about doing. This book is addressing exactly what I have been feeling for years without realising.

I know I have had a pretty good performing career up until now but I still daydream about singing in big (actually small would do) opera houses or being in a West End musical. I then remind myself I have already done both those things so there is no reason for me not to do them again. I always imagine that the reality would never live up to the dream when in fact I know, categorically, that it would. It did! The reality was far, far better than the dream ever was. My brain just chooses to forget the good things and only remember the bad.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to put together a one-woman show but I would always tell myself that I am not creative enough to do this or that nobody would want to see anything I cobble together. I would tell myself I will do it when I have enough money/more security/have got a job/have more time but none of these things will ever really come to fruition. I will never have enough money, the life I have chosen will never allow me to feel secure, when I have a job I don't feel the need to work on other projects and there will never, ever be enough time. They will remain obstacles. However, this book, this almost magical book, has made me rethink my attitude to doing the things I want to do and just get on and do them. I am not in a huge hurry to do another big musical or opera (don't tell my agent I said that) but I do want to perform something. Something for me.

So today I made a real start on putting together my show. It is in the embryonic stage right now but I think I know what path it will take I just need to organise my thoughts (much, much easier said than done) and try it out. If it doesn't work at least I will have done it. I don't know if it is because I am getting older but I am very driven by the thought that I don't want to get to the stage where I say I wish I had done this or that. I already have enough "what if's" floating around in my head I certainly do not need, or want, anymore.

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